Monday, 24 November 2014


On Sunday morning I was up early (as is my habit) when I had been staying overnight in the Erskine Bridge Hotel down on the Clyde (west of the city of Glasgow).

I looked out the window at about 7:15 am and noticed fog on the river below me.  I got out my iPhone and held it up to the glass to take a photo.

This was the scene below: my first shot of a series.  The city of Glasgow lights are shining in the distance as I faced east over the River Clyde below.

I took a notion to see if I could open the window to get a second shot. It opened without difficulty and I held my camera up to the edge of the frame to give it stability (being careful not to lose it 'overboard'!)

Suddenly I became aware of a low, rythmical splashing sound coming from my left out of sight ... and look what came into view ... the (paddle steamer) Waverley ... heading on up the river. Perfect timing!

And here are a few more shots and all from my wee iPhone!

Friday, 21 November 2014


I had a weird experience today. I was awake but dozing around 5 am when I felt a tremor, in fact, 2 short tremors.  An earthquake of sorts?  I gather it is not uncommon to have tremors; apparently it is just that we don't notice them.

I noted the time 5:25 am and decided to Google a site which might show something in real time.  Here it is:
The organisation which monitors tremors in the UK is the British Geological Survey. Their website is here  and shows a graph in the section called Real-time Seismograms.  As there was no key I assume a tremor is shown as blue.  Well there was nothing at 5:25 am although it showed something at 5:15 am.  So it's a mystery.

Nonetheless, if I make a note of it ... and if it happens again or is noted by other people in the area .... then perhaps a pattern might emerge which could lead to an explanation.

Thursday, 20 November 2014


After school today we made a gingerbread house. As a structure it was a  complete failure but the 2 hours of preparation - rolling, cutting and baking - were saved by decorating various "off-cuts" and slabs which did not collapse.

Using my Auntie Mary's card template of 40+ years ago I got out my recipe for gingersnaps.  This is my handwriting in my teens! The recipe was from the Vancouver Province (newspaper) probably about late 50s.  The 1982 Woman's Day magazine that Mary used for the template is stored in my recipe shelf in a brown envelope with "Province of British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture and Food" on the left corner.

Ishbel who is nearly 8 years old is tall enough to work at the counter and is quite a tidy little worker and careful when working near the hot stove (UK = cooker).   

Alastair is not tidy but rather "creative" and that is his word! Ask him to cut out a shape for the roof or a wall and he goes off and produces a ... hut? dog-house? shed?   Oh dear ... I have had 47 years of this!

Our house wouldn't stay erect but the day was saved by having spare Christmas tree shaped cookies to decorate. I buy tubs of Betty Crocker icing and lots of sprinkles for decoration - worth every penny!

Harriet joined us when Mairi arrived.  She is now sitting at the table like all the big people.

While usually running around everywhere she now will sit for 5 or more minutes with a board book in her lap. She appears to be quite absorbed by them.

Monday, 17 November 2014


I must share with you my discovery yesterday when I paid a visit to the Whole Foods store in Giffnock. 

Having grown up on an orchard farm in British Columbia this is what was grown and picked for shipment abroad …. MacIntosh apples!   Oh, the smell of them when I walked into the main entrance yesterday was a real ‘Proustian Moment’!

Can't you just smell them?!!!

They were piled up on a big pallet at the entrance.  I could have been in Kelowna or Edmonton mall ... the place had the same feel about it.  Furthermore... things just got better and better.  I came across Canadian wheat (i.e. strong, 'winter' wheat).  Now maybe that is what is used by the mills in the UK but this was bagged as the photos below illustrate.

And believe it or not they even had some Oregon wine on the shelf.  Of course, I couldn't leave the store without buying a bottle.  (Actually I had gone in for walnuts as they are the absolute best you can get anywhere ... but they were out of stock.)

So I tough it out as I sit with my iPad, the Whole Foods catalogue and the rest of my brown paper bag of apple!  

Monday, 3 November 2014


It has been a busy few weeks.... Here are a few photos taken recently.

 Indy aged 3.25 years (taken by Alastair at a playpark)

Harriet aged 1 year 4 months (taken by me this week)

Alastair aged 6.75 years (taken by John at Chinese Warriors Exhibition in Dublin this week)

Alastair, Harriet and Ishbel who is nearly 8 years old (taken by John in the summer)

Sunday, 5 October 2014


A walk around the garden and grounds of Ross Priory were a joy at this time of year. Where there is often a wedding taking place at the weekend, it was practically deserted.  The early morning showers put off the golfers and the visitors, but ...hey ho! ... the sun came out and the place was washed in autumn colours.

I had a go at trying to take a panorama shot on my iPhone.  It is quite good in high resolution on my big computer screes; it is not good at the above low resolution.  For example, you cannot see the rainbow on the loch mid-right.

Sunday, 28 September 2014


Instead of ending up near Gleneagles as planned I joined a friend (whose house backs on to the golf course) for a visit today to the village of Doune. As an escape from the constraints of having such a big and highly successful venue on one's doorstep we ended up at an antique fair well away from the Big Event going on down the road.


I treated myself to a cake plate* as (a) I do not have one and (b) the children and I are doing some serious baking these days.  They are bigger now and are very good at doing such things as: cracking eggs on the side of a bowl, measuring ingredients on the baking scales etc.  So this Aynsley china plate is propped up on the sideboard waiting for the next Mary Berry Great British Wannabe Bakers to don their aprons and get out the Betty Crocker icing tubs!

On the sideboard are some bits and pieces that simply get plonked there by the last person who dried the dishes.  This is some silverware lying in a plate with iris seeds from the garden.
* I cannot identify the pattern ... odd....!